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Elijah Craig Barrel Proof 127.2 Batch No. B520

  • Rating: 8
  • Value: 8
Type:
Classification: ,
Distillery:
Importer:
Proof: 127.2 (63.62%)
Age: 12 Years Old
Price: $60 750 ML
Price Range:
Bottle of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof 127.2 B520

At $60 a bottle for a barrel proof it is a bit of a deal and a decent whiskey but maybe not a must-have. Decent, but not stellar. Buy it as a solid bourbon for mixing.

Notes: Heaven Hill is a distillery with a relatively long history with quite a few bourbons in its portfolio, a number of them dating back to the beginning of the company, but a number of exciting new bourbons and special editions of their older lines are generating a lot of interest (and new respect) in the bourbon community. Some of the most notable of the new series are the limited editions of the Parker Heritage Series (reviews of  Number 7, Number 8, and Number 9 ) the new Larceny Bourbon (an extension/expression from the Old Fitzgerald line),which comes in the regular proof versions and more recently some Barrel Proof Expressions such as LarcenyBarrel Proof Batch A120 and B520 at 122.2 Proof along with a new line of whiskey, The Bernheim Wheat Whisky.

Their other bourbons include of course the Heaven Hill series, the Elijah Craig 12 ( IMHO one of the perennial best buys in a bourbon), and the Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old. Some other lines of bourbons they produce are the Evan Williams line and the Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage series they have released every year ( 2000 Vintage, 2002 Vintage2003 Vintage, 2004 Vintage, and the New Make Series of unaged distillate (Rye and Corn),

This is particular bottle is part of the ongoing Barrel Proof Series, all of which are 12-Year-old bourbons selected as outstanding single barrels and bottled at barrel proof. This one being the 127.2 Proof  Version released May 2020.  The earlier versions we reviewed being the other the Barrel Proof Versions at 124.2 released in January of 2017, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof  127 Proof Lot B517 in May of 2017, another further release  Batch No. C917  in September of 2017. and the release just before this one of 136.6 Proof A120,which came out in January of this year

An explanation of Barrel Proof, please look in our classification section. The Barrel Proof series is the latest and follows on from other previous premium releases of a 20-Year-Old and of the 21-Year-Old Version,  23 Year Old Elijah Craig versions. This barrel proof series has between 3 and 4 releases a year at different proofs due to the variations of the batches. The Elijah Craig Barrel Proof series will also vary in color and taste within a certain (company and brand profile) degree so each one will be different up to that point. Barrels falling outside that profile will probably end up in larger blends, or in extreme cases, sold off to be used somewhere else under a different name.
The other Elijah Craig Barrel Proof we reviewed was the B 517 at 124.2 proof, The 131 proof C917, and the 136.6 Proof Batch A120.

The Batch letter is code for which release it is for the year (A, B, C, D are batches 1,2,3,4 for the year, First digit is the month (1-January, 5 – May, 9- September), second two numbers denote the year ( in this case 2020).

Appearance: Clear copper/patinated bronze-colored showing a nice aging profile. On swirling, it leaves a  thin to medium coating on the glass and rapidly forms an edge line that crenelates and recedes rather than forming legs.

First Impression:  Caramel, oak, spice, vanilla, saddle soap, , leather, tobacco, and alcohol blending relatively well if more forward, it seems the trend is toward a bit spicier than the last release but less complex altogether than some of the previous incarnations and more approachable to younger palates. After the addition of some (nonchlorinated) water, it opens up a bit with ghee, spice , almond and some alkali notes, leather and touches of old oak.

Taste:  Creamy but intense entry with ginger, rye spice and burnt sugar/caramel Brulee notes starting out I would recommend giving it a sip at full barrel proof just so you can appreciate how smooth it is ( at that proof). The Elijah Craig does match the nose/bouquet, with caramel and vanilla, with the char, oak, tobacco and leather dialed up a notch. If you want to appreciate the bouquet and taste add some water to open it up a bit (one of the things I like about barrel proof spirits is you can proof it or mix it to your taste/requirements- too many whiskeys are already too watered down before you even get them these days – especially if you are making cocktails with them!  With the addition of some water the bourbon opens its bouquet nicely and becomes a touch sweeter and less oily with the spice becoming more pronounced in the taste and a sweeter finish.

Drinks: Speaking of which… Recommend for mixing. Makes a nice hearty bourbon component in most of our favorite classic bourbon cocktails. This one has a nicely weighted feel and taste with some rustic edges to let you know you are drinking bourbon and not some sissy seltzer.If you are going to use a ginger ale get a heavier one like Vernors or similar, not some anemic Canada Dry. Some goes with other mixers. Add some more ice and/or adjust the portions a little bit ( possibly somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 less (?) and or stir it a bit longer to taste… You can add ice and water a lot easier than remove them. Enjoy!

Bottle: Elongated Horseshoe-shaped flask type bottle somewhat taller and leaner looking than the older versions of Elijah Craig

Other: We are going to go out on a limb here and suggest the reason we may be seeing barrel proof is for two reasons; 1. The demand/fascination/call for Barrel Proof editions of a whiskey, 2. The shortage of stocks of vintage whiskey especially 18 years and older.

Final Thoughts: Another Elijah Craig Barrel Proof release to add and compare to in your collection although not as complex as past releases. An improvement over the last batch ((136.6 Batch A120) but still a bit too rustic with some rough edges to it.Like the first batch this year,  if it was a bit more subtle and complex it would have scored higher, but still worthy of buying if it can be found at or around the MSRP – this will not be a heavily sought after in the grey market bottle. Get it and enjoy it while you can but don’t break the piggy bank for it.

Website: http://www.heavenhill.com/age-gate.php

The main distillery website, it also has their plethora of other brands they either make of import also. A fairly informative site by industry standards, it does not have as much depth of information on their American Whiskies as the site below does – but offers a great overview of everything they are involved in.

http://www.elijahcraig.com

Fast loading and easy to navigate. This one of the most comprehensive bourbon ( or any other spirit for that matter) website I have come across – and that is saying a lot! Extensive information and good pictures of how bourbon is made, the distillery, the bourbon heritage with reviews and ratings by different people and organizations of the different vintage years. Also the most extensive store of bourbon related gear and accessories in the industry.

 

http://www.bardstownwhiskeysociety.com
The more specific webpage for their higher-end America Whiskey portfolio with a good amount of information, photos and recipes. If you become a member of the Bardstown Whiskey Society ( recommended) you unlock a lot more information and benefits from joining.

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